It hasn’t been a great year when it comes to podcast hosts on Dan Benjamin’s 5 By 5 Network. The podcasting company really was coming in strong and clear in the 1st quarter of 2012. Serious internet stars like Merlin Mann, Jon Gruber, John Siracusa, Andy Ihnatko and Jim Dalrymple truly were among the top five at 5By5(yes there are even more). However, Benjamin’s 5By5 network lost 3 majors players in 2012.First Jon Gruber of Daring Fireball fame jumped ship with his The Talk Show to do a podcast with the Mule Radio Syndicate. No explanation given. Both men publically quote and reference each other in a friendly way. So presumably the split came as a business decision. If I were a betting man I would guess that Gruber is probably raking in more ASSets at Mule Radio then the numbers he was getting at 5By5.
Marco Arment, host of Build & Analyze and Host John Siracusa of Hypercritical just a few weeks ago announced their last shows will come at the end of the month. Both hosts said basically the same thing for their departure. Each saying that the podcasts had run their course. They are both committed to their careers and other projects and the extra burden of research, resources and production of a weekly podcast was just too much. Both say they will make guest appearances in the future on 5By5. Whether it’s on 5By5’s newest effort The Crossover or other podcasts we hope to continue to enjoy their opinions and views of the world.
Kudos to Mr. Benjamin he had the foresight and good fortune to have these three outstanding individuals showcased in a forum that was entertaining and loaded with great information. As referenced earlier, Benjamin still has internet powerhouses in his dug-out. Gina Trapani, Horace Dediu, and of course Merlin Mann will be podcasting about on the network. What also deserves mention are the new, strong and very promising 5By5 podcast rookies; Brett Terpstra, David Sparks and Katie Floyd. It will be interesting to see what podcasts shake out to fill the holes left behind by Gruber, Siracusa and Arment.
As a long time radio and television producer I’m hoping Benjamin can step behind the scenes and tweak some of these other podcasts so that hosts can concentrate on content and not formatics. It seems the lessons to be learned from 2012 are to make the job of hosting a 5By5 podcasting as easy as possible this way maybe burnout can be avoided or at least delayed.
As more and more Americans turn off their television and listen or watch podcasts I believe they will see its true value. As new, different and diverse points of view can be offered about all kinds of subjects networks like 5By5 and Mule Radio Syndicate will play a bigger and bigger role in people’s lives. By offering support and useful criticism Americans can offer podcast producers insights to help with content, flow and listenability. These are the qualities that are lacking in many TV and radio programs today. We hope the mistakes that were made with network television and radio will not be made with this form of communication.